Advice Manual for the Organisation of Collective Marketing Activities by Small-Scale Farmers

This paper suggests that the way small-scale farmers can compete with large farms, which benefit from the production of large quantities of a crop at a high quality standard, and who will have no difficulty in attracting buyers and receiving a market price, is to cooperate with each other to form an association or farmers’ marketing group. It argues, by way of example, that if 50 farmers are able to offer their combined output for sale and take steps to make sure that it is of a standard quality, they will be able to market their goods as successfully as a large-scale farmer.

This manual is designed to assist the staff of service-providers (SPs) supporting small-scale farming communities to advise farmers on how best to work together to increase the value of the goods they sell using group marketing strategies. The manual outlines the benefits of collective marketing and the types of strategies that could be used by different types of farming communities in Uganda. It offers a step-by step-guide on how to achieve these aims beginning with suggestions on how to bring groups of farmers together to discuss all the issues involved.

Further guidance is offered on how the group might chose which strategies to adopt depending on their circumstances, the rights and obligations of each member and the practices needed to achieve a successful outcome. These include the use of democratic decision-making systems, the allocation of specific tasks to individual members, accurate record-keeping, the group’s relationship with traders and credit providers, making use of available market information and how to negotiate with produce buyers and input providers.

The manual is set out in four main sections. The first provides background on collective marketing – what it is and why it is useful. The second section gives guidance on practical work targeted at those working with farmer groups. This covers first meetings, feasibility studies, initial activities and planning the next action. The third section then cover tools for collective marketing such as communication, negotiation, record keeping, money matter, etc. The final section discusses factors for maintaining momentum and keeping collective marketing sustainable.

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